Around-the-world sailboat cruise ends in rough seas and rescue off NJ coast

Rough seas
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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A pair of around-the-world cruisers had to be rescued in rough seas off the coast of Atlantic City on Wednesday night.
A 55-foot sailboat called the Bertie capsized some 65 miles off shore in rough seas.

"The two people that were on the sailboat had been travelling the world, basically, for the last two or three years and were currently in transit from the Bahamas to New York City," Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick said.

The couple, Peter Bailey and Heidi Snyder, shared their terrifying experience and said it all happened very quickly. 

A strong wind sent them into the ocean and their sailboat flipped. 

There is a secret to their survival: don't panic. 

"I freaked out as it was happening, but then it was like 'OK, here we are.' I've done a lot of work on myself to be centered and focused in my life as of late and it just kind of paid off to really not fly off the handle and lose my marbles," Snyder said. 

The wooden ship had strobe lights attached, which made it easier for rescue crews to find them. They were also able to send out a distress signal while in the water. 

They were found clinging to the wooden hull of the craft.

"A lot of cases like this could go really bad if people don’t have those emergency distress beacons," Coast Guard Petty Officer Andy Kendrick said, "or they don’t have it registered right a lot of the time. So we don’t know who to call. We don't know if somebody’s really in distress. So all those things can really help."

They were hoisted into a helicopter and brought to the Coast Guard station in Atlantic City and were then transported to a hospital. 

They're both fine now and are calling their rescuers "heroes."

As for the Bertie, it’s being marked as a navigational hazard but could be salvaged privately. 

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KYW Newsradio's Andrew Kramer contributed to this report.